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Helen Keller (1880-1968) was world famous as the little deaf blind girl, the ‘miracle’ child who triumphed over adversity, an image later enshrined by Hollywood in the film The Miracle Worker.
But behind the image was a flesh-and-blood woman, writer and radical activist, suffragette and Socialist, under surveillance by the FBI and in constant struggle against the contradictions of her public image. She was a woman who lived to old age, yet is fixed in the public imagination as an eternal child.
This documentary-biography examines the creation of Keller’s popular image and enduring iconic status and reveals the woman behind the myth.
The Real Helen Keller is produced in spoken English and British Sign Language.
Watch the film here.
Picture This Festival (Canada): Best over 30 minute documentary 2002
Disability Film Festival (London) Best of the Fest 2000, 2001
Deaf Film Festival, Wolverhampton
London Disability Film Festival
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
University of Bristol
D.Vercity European Disability Arts and Culture Festival, Lancaster
Public & Commercial Services Union (PCS), London
Toronto Disability Film and Culture Festival
Picture This Festival, Canada
Popcorn and a Movie, Access Awareness Association of Calgary
Swedish Deaf Film Festival
Dov Film Festival, Stockholm
University of Oregon
Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
disTHIS, New York
University of California, Los Angeles
UR (Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company)
The Real Helen Keller
Produced & Directed by
Helen Keller Reader
Helen Keller played by
British Sign Language Interpreter
BSL Script Interpretation
American Foundation for the Blind
Ann Fagan Ginger
First Run, Icarus Films
The Image Bank, London
Library of Congress
MGM, Clip and Still
Perkins School for the Blind
A Redweather Production for Channel Four
At last, a flesh and blood portrayal of Helen Keller. A vivid portrait of a passionate
woman who earned her place on the FBI’s wanted list for her radical views and
political activism. A remarkable documentary with some fascinating material
previously suppressed by the US authorities and the Keller family.
A wry and witty look at the truth beyond the myth. Wonderfully sharp, with
unexpected laugh-out-loud moments.
Helen Keller: Her Socialist Years Ed. P Foner , New York, International Publishers, 1967
Teacher: Anne Sullivan Macy, New York, 1955
Helen Keller’s Journal, New York, 1938
Midstream New York, Doubleday, Doran Co, 1930
Out of the Dark New York, Doubleday Page, 1913
The World I Live In, New York, 1908
The Story of My Life New York, Doubleday, Page Co, 1903
Fillippeli, S (1985) The Revolutionary Rhetoric of Helen Keller (MA Thesis, University of Georgia)
Herrmann, D (1998) Helen Keller, A Life (New York, Knopf)
Klages, M (1989) More Wonderful Than Any Fiction: The Representation of Helen Keller (PhD thesis, Stanford University)
Lash, J (1980) Helen and Teacher (New York, Dell)
Oldfield, S (1989) Women Against the Iron Fist (Blackwell)
Helen Keller Archive held by American Foundation for the Blind in New York
Information about Helen Keller’s work in Socialism from Marxists Internet Archive